At a special Infrastructure Services Committee meeting on Friday, Jan. 25, directors were given our first look at a proposed new contract for garbage and recycling pick-up in Areas B, D, E and F. A request for bids went out last fall and Waste Management was the only contractor to respond with a proposal to provide all the curbside collection services requested:
- Organics (food scraps, yard waste) – every week
- Garbage pick-up – every other week
- Recycling pick-up – every other week
The reason for curbside organics pick-up is to divert material from our rapidly filling landfill. Meat, fish, oils and food-contaminated paper would be included in the organics stream–something that home composters typically do not deal with. This may buy us a year in which to figure out what we’re going to do when the landfill closes. (Green waste would also be collected in large paper bags.)
There’s a similar argument for curbside recycling pick-up, which in this case would be paper products and containers (metal and plastic). All other recycling would continue through the Gibsons Recycling depot. More people recycle when it’s made easy for them, so this should reduce the materials put in the garbage.
The contractor would like to use semi-automated collection, which means using garbage cans they provide. I confess I was dismayed to realize that the full system would require every household to acquire FOUR containers–a small kitchen catcher to collect organics indoors, a 134L wheeled bin to take organics to the curb, another 134L wheeled bin for garbage, and a still LARGER bin for recycling. By contrast, the maximum garbage can size now is 77L. Several directors wondered how people are supposed to wrestle these huge containers up and down unpaved rural driveways.
There is also an option for residents to supply their own containers, which makes far more sense to me. Otherwise it is estimated that we would spend $1,523,700 over the five years on purchasing plastic garbage carts. Our planet has a vast plastic pollution problem. In my opinion, the last thing we should be encouraging is MORE plastic.
No decisions were made on Jan. 25. The whole thing will come to the board again and we’ll have to wrestle with it. Right now, Area E residents pay $147/year for weekly garbage pick-up. The proposed weekly organics pickup, plus bi-weekly garbage collection would cost $218. Adding bi-weekly recycling pickup would be another $121, for a total of $339. (These figures include the carts–it would be less if residents supply their own containers.)
The current garbage pick-up contract ends on February 28, 2019. After that we’ll be on a month-to-month basis. Staff estimates that if we sign a 5-year contract soon, the new system will come into effect in September.
The report on rural curbside collection starts on page 86 of the January 25 Infrastructure Agenda package.